The BWW Book-Length Narrative Workshop

We’ve come up with a way to workshop a whole book. If you have a novel or memoir and need someone to read the whole thing, you’re going to love this. Here are the details in Q&A form.

What are you doing, exactly? We will read one writer’s book length narrative over the course of three workshops.

How can I participate in these workshops? I’ll open the three workshops up to 10 participants. To ensure continuity, these ten participants must commit to attending all three workshops.

When will these take place? These workshops will be two weeks apart and take place sometime in October and/or November. I’ll schedule them this weekend, so watch your email box and RSVP at when the notices arrive.

I want this workshop to discuss my book. How can I make that happen? Please send a synopsis of your book to Your synopsis should be a one-page description of the events of Acts 1, 2, and 3. Because we can only choose one book, and because I don’t want to make that decision all by myself, the ten participants will decide, based on this synopsis, which book to read.

What’s the deadline to send the synopsis? September 1st

How long must my book be? There is no length limit for this book length narrative. It just needs to be something with the three act structure.

A comprehensive description of the Three-Act Narrative structure, courtesy of Kate Forsyth
A comprehensive description of the Three-Act Narrative structure, courtesy of Kate Forsyth

Does my work have to be neatly carved into three acts? In general, no. Your art takes whatever shape it needs to take. But for this workshop, we need to keep this three act structure firmly in place. If this pilot workshop runs smoothly, we can work with more experimental stuff in the future.

Does my book-length narrative have to be polished? It must be your best effort. We don’t want to waste time pointing out things that you could’ve found on your own, had you put in the effort.

Who is responsible for printing my book for the workshop? The ten participants will decide whether they want a printed copy of your pages. Some may want to read it electronically, but others may want a paper copy, and you’ll be in charge of printing a copy for them. This will require some investment, but the returns will be worth it. Ten people will read your book and provide feedback essentially for free. This is a rare service and worth the cost of printing.

When do I have to post my book or deliver a paper copy? Two weeks before the first meeting. You must post the whole thing.

My whole book has to be finished? Really? Yes. You must have a full draft with a beginning, middle, and end.

Can I at least single-space my manuscript to save paper? No way. Total rookie mistake.

Why are you doing this? We’ve seen lots of pieces of novels and memoirs in the Burlington Writers Workshop, and we’ve found that it’s difficult to talk about the middle sections of longer pieces. This new workshop will allow us to maintain continuity and provide more comprehensive feedback to folks working on longer pieces.

I’m excited that we’re finally branching out into this new territory. Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions on how we could make this work well.